Tag Archives: Melisandre

You Want to be …Fooled

I want to write a fun, explorative piece: more idea-fuel and moderate insights than it is ‘epic theory’—an essay full of rhetorical sleight-of-hand that reads like a series of magic tricks and less like rote historiography. So here’s an attempt.

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  • What would it take for you to distrust any prediction a character makes?

Obviously a mistaken interpretation or two will hurt someone’s belief. But what about an admission that they’re just guessing in the first place, something like this:

“Some may.” Could the skulls in her vision have signified this bridge? Somehow Melisandre did not think so. “If it comes, that attack will be no more than a diversion. I saw towers by the sea, submerged beneath a black and bloody tide. That is where the heaviest blow will fall.”

“Eastwatch?”

Was it? Melisandre had seen Eastwatch-by-the-Sea with King Stannis. That was where His Grace left Queen Selyse and their daughter Shireen when he assembled his knights for the march to Castle Black. The towers in her fire had been different, but that was oft the way with visions. “Yes. Eastwatch, my lord.”
MELISANDRE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

In our haste to zip through Melisandre’s chapter and find the juicy details, we seem to have overlooked what I now think is perhaps the choicest morsel of all. Why?

It means that Melisandre often interprets her visions as applying to things other than literally what she sees.

This is hardly surprising though—we all know she makes mistakes. Even she admits it. But on the other hand, there’s really only one way to broadly interpret Melisandre’s statement:

Visions often show one thing, but are in truth about another.

If this is the case, then when Melisandre wrongly interprets a specific detail in a vision, she’s not only making mistakes, she is almost certainly misleading readers who trust her words or thoughts.

I know it sounds ridiculous: that her own thoughts would fool us. After all, if she saw Jon… she saw Jon. Why would the text in her own POV mislead us, the readers who are free from the supposed perils of bias that afflict the characters?

The assumption about what Melisandre sees being precisely what she thinks (or more accurately being what is on the page) is ignoring that we are reading words set out by an author who has no strict obligation to give us full, accurate information at all times. There have been several occasions where a character’s thoughts seem to omit details that readers could benefit from and have no real reason not to exist. Tyrion’s chain, Victarion’s ‘surgery’, and more, are all examples of when Martin’s words have deftly avoided the ‘whole truth’ in favor of a more compelling story. And as noted, Melisandre herself admitted that her visions may not apply to the exact objects, places or people she envisions… so even if you disagree and think her thoughts aren’t erroneous and that she actually saw Jon, the vision could still instead apply to someone else—by her own admission!

Anyways, It’s one thing to say this, its another to show you just how misleading a bad prediction can be. Like me, you almost certainly never realized that Melisandre’s first bad vision in A Dance with Dragons happens in Jon’s first chapter.

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  • Ready for a magic trick?

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The False Sword Lightbringer

…the sword is wrong, and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness, Sam.
MAESTER AEMON — A FEAST FOR CROWS

This post is aimed squarely at people who want a thorough examination of Stannis’s sword, purportedly the fabled weapon Lightbringer. I suspect that will likely be first time readers who want some information or clarification.

Note: I’m pretty sure this will be familiar territory for a lot of ardent fans.

The key point I’m making here is this:

Stannis has a false Lightbringer.

More importantly, Melisandre deliberately lied about the sword he has.

This may seem to be a plain observation to some. However, I think it is wise to establish a thorough refutation of Stannis’s sword, as a reference for use in future discussions.

Additionally, I believe that a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding this false sword allows us to make the following claims as well:

It proves that Melisandre indeed relies on the ‘tricks of alchemists and pyromancers’.

We may have been blind to how she has used her other mundane tricks.

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The Sea of Shadow: A Map to Dead Kings

“Men live their lives trapped in an eternal present,
between the mists of memory and
the sea of shadow that is all we know of the days to come.
BLOODRAVEN — BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Would you believe me I told you there was a series of ‘easter eggs’ concealed within A Song of Ice and Fire?

Specifically, would you believe that there are references to other scenes and places secretly placed in passages mentioning shadows?

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I Dream of Ramsay Snow

I would like to regale you with an absurdity. And yet, an absurdity that makes a profound amount of sense.

Jon Snow’s dreams are cryptic visions of events that actually happen to Ramsay Bolton.

Futher, Melisandre’s central prediction about Jon’s death could actually have been about Ramsay.

Can I prove it? Depressingly, no. Can I at least provide an interesting read? I certainly hope so. I hope that some of the things I share herein cause your brain juices to flow. There is certainly something eerie between Jon’s dreams and Ramsay Bolton. Continue reading